• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Consider Shakespeare's Presentation of Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice'.

Extracts from this document...


Consider Shakespeare's Presentation of Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice' This essay is an analysis of how the character of Shylock, in the play 'The Merchant of Venice', is presented to the audience, by Shakespeare, in different ways. The riveting play shows the best and worst aspects of human nature and contains one of Shakespeare's most reviled, complex and compelling characters. Love and romance end this play, yet before that come bigotry, racism, hatred, death threats and money-especially the money. The dramatic courtroom scene and Shylock's cruel downfall will challenge your heart and your sense of justice. Shylock is a successful Jewish moneylender, who is filled with bitter words for the Christians, much prejudiced over his own religion and the practice of moneylenders, such as himself, of charging interest. Shylocks of the past and present have been portrayed in different ways on screen and in the theatre. He has been played by Anthony Sher, John Woodvine, Ralph Richardson, Dustin Hoffman, John Gielgud and Barrie Rutter. ...read more.


Secondly, he is a moneylender, who earned profit through usury. Usury was despised of by all other moneylenders (who all seem to be Christian). Money lending was a contentious issue and it was considered not fair or moral to loan money, expecting the initial amount to be repaid with a large interest on top of it. Thirdly, he is nearly always contradicting himself. He is always talking of how the Christians all call him names and all around just spurn and dislike him, which is a way of asking for some sympathy or mercy (because of the way he keeps going on and on about it) from the audience, but in the end "How shalt thou hope for mercy, rendering none?" One instance for him going on about how the Christians all hated him is his speech, in Act III Scene I, which contains words of his bitterness and desire for revenge. ...read more.


Why Revenge! The Villainy you teach me I will execute; and it shall go hard, but I will better the Instruction." He did, of course, make a very valid observation in that speech. He was trying to point out that humans are all the same, no matter what they believe in, we are all born, living and are eventually going to die in very much the same ways, so why can't he have his revenge? The desire of revenge is almost inseparable from the sense of wrong and we can hardly help sympathising with the Shylock, hidden beneath his "Jewish gabardine," his madness by repeated, undeserved name calling and labouring to get rid of the obstructions, from opportunities and freedom, heaped upon him and all his tribe by one desperate act of 'lawful' revenge. The ferociousness of the means by which he is to carry out his purpose, turn us against him. Even so, when disappointed of the revenge on which he built his hopes and the way he is punished for his actions, we pity him. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Merchant of Venice section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Merchant of Venice essays

  1. What is your assessment of the presentation of the character and role of Shylock ...

    On the theme of vengeance, a theme prevalent throughout the play, Shylock describes his use of a pound of flesh, "If it will please nothing else, it / Will feed my revenge". This thought, of revenge and Shylock's need for what he sees as justice makes him seem very evil, unfeeling and unmerciful.

  2. Merchant of Venice- Scene by Scene summary & analysis

    For the suitors to Portia, then, swearing to never wed puts them on the same level as Antonio. By agreeing to not marry, they themselves become castrated. Lancelot the clown is one of the more interesting characters. His treatment of his father is awful, considering that his father is mostly blind and has brought a present to his son.

  1. The Merchant of Venice. Consider the complexities of Shylock's character with detailed reference ...

    In the 1970's film version directed by Jack Gold, Warren Mitchell played Shylock as a comical character at the start but became a villain, as the actor plays Shylock as vengeful and seems to hate Christians more, also in the court room he is very threatening towards Antonio with the knife.

  2. Discuss Shakespeare’s presentation of Shylock in the Merchant of Venice

    He calls pigs, the meat of the devil and if he was to eat with them they would be sure to make malicious jokes and laugh at him. 'To smell pork; to eat of the habitation which your prophet the Nazarite conjured the devil into'.

  1. "Analyse the presentation and dramatic contribution of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice"

    He is also the centre for many themes that the Elizabethans used to love to watch such as law, revenge, mercy etc. All these points will be address in the essay. The Elizabethan attitude towards Jewish people were: they thought Jewish people were evil, they hated them because they practiced

  2. The Merchant of Venice - WilliamShakespeare - Discuss the presentation of Shylock's character.

    as their religion, but were called "Maranos" as a constant reminder of their past. So, just from history you can work out before even opening the play that Shylock is going to have a hard time trying to be liked.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work